Lazard Ltd (LAZ) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods

Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by equities research analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in a research note issued on Tuesday, May 9th. They presently have a $51.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods’ price objective suggests a potential upside of 17.08% from the stock’s previous close.

Several other research firms have also weighed in on LAZ. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of Lazard in a research report on Friday, April 21st. Bank of America Corp upgraded shares of Lazard from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $47.00 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. lowered shares of Lazard from a “strong-buy” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $45.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Friday, January 20th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $45.50.

Analyst Recommendations for Lazard (NYSE:LAZ)

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) traded up 1.47% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $44.20. 450,455 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.42 billion, a PE ratio of 13.68 and a beta of 1.91. Lazard has a 12-month low of $26.21 and a 12-month high of $47.09. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $44.62 and its 200-day moving average is $42.60.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The asset manager reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. Lazard had a net margin of 16.26% and a return on equity of 32.97%. The firm had revenue of $624.43 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $611.43 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.50 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 23.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Lazard will post $3.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 19th. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 8th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 4th. Lazard’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 52.05%.

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In other news, COO Alexander F. Stern sold 65,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.75, for a total value of $2,908,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, General Counsel Scott D. Hoffman sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.16, for a total transaction of $863,200.00. Following the completion of the sale, the general counsel now directly owns 129,031 shares in the company, valued at $5,568,977.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 120,000 shares of company stock worth $5,351,500. Insiders own 2.20% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. CENTRAL TRUST Co increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 558.7% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 3,537 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $163,000 after buying an additional 3,000 shares during the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Lazard during the first quarter worth about $204,000. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp bought a new stake in shares of Lazard during the first quarter worth $207,000. King Wealth Management Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lazard during the first quarter worth $207,000. Finally, Wedbush Securities Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Lazard during the first quarter worth $212,000. 70.45% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Lazard

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients.

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